Eternity and no time at all

It’s been 2 weeks since Chow died… yesterday would have been her 7th birthday.

It feels like she’s been gone forever, and like it was just yesterday. 

Ordered new name tags for the other two yesterday because Shutterfly had a promo going. Both L and I felt like we should be picking one for Chow also…

It’s so weird without her here. 

My anxiety is hitting hard again, especially days when I work at the front desk at the kennel. It feels really wrong without her there with me. I bring the other two, but they get noisy and need to be sent back into the kennel when that happens… Cow would just sit quietly with me and I didn’t have to worry that she would disrupt things. 

The other two dogs are also experiencing a lot more anxiety. They don’t want to be left alone anywhere. They used to tolerate being home alone for a few hours, but now the little guy barks himself hoarse. Sadie doesn’t like us sleeping in past 6:30 am anymore. If we are in the bedroom too long, she yells for us to wake up. She also panics a lot after we get home. She still sometimes goes outside looking for hints of Chow in all the spots she used to frequent… neither tolerates that half-hour alone in the camp room at work between the time we get there and the time camp actually starts…

I still expect chow to knock me in the head with the bathroom door if I don’t close it all the way. Both L and I look for her to pick up dropped food in the kitchen… 

It really sucks…


Musings on emotions

It feels like this huge, crushing weight (grief does).

It seems like I’m feeling it too intensely sometimes… 

For some reason, it struck me today that some people have “sensory processing disorders” around emotions rather than sights, sounds, or textures… 

The same way loud noises  (or lots of sources of noise) can be overwhelming to someone on the autism spectrum, “loud” emotions can be overwhelming to some people… 

What if that emotional overwhelm they try to always pigeonhole as “borderline” is really just an autistic glitch around emotions as opposed to one of the other senses? 

What if introducing trauma/abuse/neglect into the mix early-on intensifies the inability of a person to deal with this emotional sensory processing disorder? 

We’ve all heard the theories that borderline is better explained by c-ptsd (which I totally agree with). What if we took it one step further and explored the possibility that “borderline”was actually in part an autism-like disorder? 

If you consider that one “symptom” of borderline is “feeling too intensley”, and you understand that even trained clinicians minimize the difficulty of dealing with extremely intense emotions (as they’ve been trained to do; “know that emotions come & go, like waves”), it’s easy to see the disconnect in effective strategies for clients. It’s something along the lines of comparing a stubbed toe to a shattered foot. Sure, you can probably take over-the-counter Tylenol for the stubbed toe & it will likely help, but doing the same for the shattered foot probably won’t make a noticeable impact. For such an intense injury, you need prescription-strength stuff. We should have something more than “Tylenol” to offer people. 

What if we understand that pushing someone to sit with intense pain (physical or emotional)  will likely lead to various ways of procuring relief… so you take a kid who can’t handle loud noises, and you tell them they need to sit through a rock concert. You’re going to get a tantrum and various, inventive ways to deal with the pain from the noise (think stereotypical autistic behaviors like flapping, screaming, hitting self, or attacking others). Now take a kid who feels emotions incredibly intensely, and ask them to tolerate those emotions. You pretty much get the same acting out in search of relief: self injury, tantrums, physical and verbal outbursts…

I’m a huge proponent for dropping the borderline diagnosis from the dsm. It’s an antiquated and “cop-out” diagnosis with way too much stigma attached. While there’s a push to remove the stigma, it’s still very much taught to young clinicians. Professors and supervisors alike instill fear and disgust around the diagnosis. Myths are perpetuated. Doctors do the same. It’s quick to be diagnosed (often inaccurately), and it’s near impossible to step away from even if it’s found to be inaccurate. It follows you and colors every other interaction with every other professional that sees the dreaded diagnosis anywhere in the file…

What if, instead of just working to destigmatize the diagnosis, we came up with more accurate understandings, and got rid of it completely. It was, after all, just a catch-all category for people who didn’t quite fit any of the other categories… 

What are your thoughts on this? Does it kinda make sense? Am I way out in left field? 


Ashes- mixed media panel

It didn’t start out specifically as something related to the loss of Chow, but it ended up that way…

I was just messing around with art supplies in an attempt to get myself unstuck from the grief. 

There were also 2 pages in my journal I played around with, but they are not finished yet. So far, they are just backgrounds: 

I  was experimenting with a rust texture set I dug out of the clearance section last week. This tag was the first thing I used the stuff on. I think it came out ok (much better than when I tried it on the blue page)… It will go on the blue page eventually. I can’t decide where to put it though. I really like how it pops when it’s in the bottom left corner, but I also really like the detail of that spot. I’ve been trying to make it work in other spots, but it seems to get lost in the chaos of the background anywhere else I try to put it. I might have to deal with covering up what’s easily my favorite area on the page. The other option would be to alter the tag or background in a way that allows the tag to be distinguished from the background. It may take me a while to figure that out…


RIP Cow…

There aren’t words to describe how heartbroken we are. Chow passed away this afternoon… I almost went to work (and she would have died alone at home), but I tripped over her when getting ready, and she was unresponsive. I called the vet to tell them we were coming in, called L to ask her to leave work, and then called my work to tell them I would be late (my boss told me not to worry about coming in, she’d find coverage)…
Chow lasted till I  pulled into the parking lot at the vet. I heard her take her last breath before I got out of the car. They were able to get her heart started again for a few minutes, but she died shortly after…

We are still in a combination of shock and denial. She tanked so quickly… 

💔😭

Miss you tons baby girl…


…oh, and the dog is sick :(

I don’t want to live in a world where it’s so acceptable to hate and oppress…

I don’t want to live in a world where we struggle so much around so much. 

I’m constantly rendered speechless and shocked at the bigotry and rhetoric that seems to flow so freely from so many (and how quick they are too assume the other is stupid or wrong for disagreeing – on either side, really)…

On top of the current climate of hate, one of the dogs is sicker than we had hoped. We don’t know what exactly is wrong with her because we don’t have the funds available to get the appropriate testing done yet (come on Thursday!). We had hoped it was merely something antibiotics would clear up, but she’s not as dramatically better (if at all) as she should be after 2 days on meds… even if we get the testing done though, I’m not sure we will be able to afford treatment since the blood tests alone are over $300. 

I hate that I can’t take care of one of my babies. I hate that I know she feels like shit, but right now there’s nothing we can do to help. The vet’s office called earlier to check up on her, and told me they would consult the vet and potentially get back to us today. I told them we don’t have any money till Thursday… I hope between the relationship we’ve built with them, and the lack of positive progress with the dog’s health, they might extend some credit to at least be able to get tests done… 😢 I really want our puppy to be ok (by the way, when did just-under-7-years-old become “senior” for medium sized dogs? I had always thought of 8 or older falling into that category).


It seems universal… or maybe it’s just coincidence

Is there a Narcissistic Asshole Handbook out there, or is it just coincidence that they sound alike? 

The Asshole-Elect who will be running this country in a few short days sounds so much like my dad, down to the inflection in his voice when he speaks. Some of the phrases and the way he counters things are verbatim what G used to say… 

I’ve been staying away from the news and regular television because it’s so triggering… I would say it’s just the clips of him they chose to play, but it’s been him as a whole even before he ran for president. The moment he speaks, I’m flooded with memories of G, the fights he used to pick, his screaming and berating of the other adults in the house. I try to ground myself, but it’s difficult, especially if clips continue to play on TV. 

I feel like I’m desperately trying to wall myself off. If I can live in a little bubble, then maybe I can protect myself from any news of the asshole in charge, and with that, from memories of growing up. 

It’s going to be a really long 4 years. Maybe I need to ask Dr C to work on this (though it’s difficult to pull up on demand unless I’m hearing clips of the orange man… then my insides turn to mush and stone at the same time. It feels like I can’t breathe, but outwardly I appear calm and collected… AG, the APRN, had asked how I kept functioning with the level of distress I reported on the depression scale she gave me: years of having to appear fine on the outside have made it a mask I have trouble dropping until it’s too late)…

Anyway. Yeah… I guess there’s a handbook out there, or G idolized this ass (which is entirely possible). 

😔


Brain fog 

My head is in a complete fog, and I have no energy. I think it’s because my body is fighting off some ailment. L had a wicked stomach bug this weekend, and others I know have had the flu or respiratory things… I’m just hoping I make it through without succumbing to anything…

Last session, we were taking about the extent of my dissociation (when it happens), and ways to try to pool the knowledge from the various emotional states. Dr C suggested trying to “bring all the emotional states together, like at a conference table”… I had trouble wrapping my head around that concept, but I think it was mostly being uncomfortable with the conference table idea. The more I sat with the concept this weekend, the more I was able to ease into the idea. Though I switched the thought of a board room to the concept of a living room, it’s kinda sounding more possible. I’m not sure if I can make it happen, but I was able to doodle out what the different emotions look like, and to write out what I think of when I think of them… they kinda have personal appearances, though they are not actually totally seperate entities… I understand then as all just different emotional states, and can notice when I “slip into” the different mind sets, well, for most of them. There’s two that feel like completely seperate characters. While I’m consciously aware of feeling different in the others, and can access what it feels like to be, say, the brooding teenager, there are two kids whose heads I can’t get into. Those I walled-off more efficiently than the others… 

I’ve always felt like my head was set up kinda like a house, with doors that closed to each room. When I was in one room, I was totally in that room. I had agreed of the existence of the other rooms, but I couldn’t tell what was going on there, nor did I have efficient working memory of what may have happened when I wasn’t in a particular room… More recently (like the past decade or so), it’s been closer to different characters in each room; like an actor slipping into different roles in different sets. The two “kids” are different actors though…

I dunno where I was going with that. Brain fog offs moving back in…